Hendricks’s debut novel (Miami Purity, 1995) drew favorable attention for its noirish perversity, and her second follows suit—this time with the Miami heat driving a sexy young thing hellbent on her own destruction to new heights of bestiality. Nurse Ramona isn’t really, truly bad, but she does want more than her marriage to a dependable couch potato like Gary. Already smitten with scuba-diving and the freedom it offers, she begins stepping out with some of her diver buddies. But then, after she’s called it quits with Gary and snared (from a tree) a handsome iguana for a pet she names Ignats, she sets her sights on a far more dangerous quarry: her smouldering hunk of a diving instructor, Enzo. Warned off him by everyone she knows, hot-to-trot Ramona can’t help herself—even though Enzo’s rudeness does give her pause, so that she can take up with gentle, easygoing Dennis, a fellow diver and bodybuilder who gets her started lifting weights. Working out with and under him just doesn’t do it for her, however, and when at a party she’s forced to choose, she ends up being carried naked by Enzo from the pool to his car. Under his influence Ramona suffers further degradation, of a sexual kind, but finds the means to fuel her own dark passion—taking steroids as a shortcut to her goal of being as strong as any man. Enzo fronts her the money, then enlists her to help haul drugs from the sea floor, only to abandon her in the ocean overnight to fend for herself when complications arise. Ramona’s hellish spiral continues, with murder and animal cruelty not the greatest depths to which she’ll sink. The novelty of those depths offers a form of satisfaction, but also this nagging question: How much hope for women’s noir can there be when a story by one of its more promising proponents boils down to having sex with a dead iguana?